A 25-year-old Baptist organization that considers itself "theologically moderate" has loosened its hiring rules to allow open homosexuals.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship operated with an "absolute prohibition" on hiring homosexuals and transgenders but the organization's Governing Board lifted the ban at a Feb. 9 meeting.
The board was responding to a recommendation from a committee established in 2016, which reported that its recommendation reflected the views of an "overwhelming majority" of CBF congregations that don't have such a hiring policy, Baptist Press reported.
About 1,800 churches are members of the CBF, which formed in 1991 over objections to the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.
In an apparent baby-splitting decision, the Governing Board also announced that homosexuals will not be considered for leadership roles in missionary work.
Longtime Southern Baptist leader Dr. Richard Land, currently the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina, says he's saddened by the decision, but not surprised.
He also tells OneNewsNow the issue of homosexuality is a "litmus test" for professed Evangelicals.
"Anybody who claims to be an Evangelical and who affirms same-sex relationships is not an Evangelical," he insists." "What makes an Evangelical? A person who believes in the inerrancy and full authority of Scripture and puts themselves under the authority of Scripture."
The camel, says Land, has gotten its nose under the CBF's tent.
"Once you pull that anchor and you begin to drift, how do you stop?" he asks. "They'll continue to drift."